An Attempt At Creating The Ajax Style; Total Football Meets Individualism

I have been dabbling with the odd tactic with a striker lately. This has lead me to try and replicate the style of play Frank de Boer applies to his Ajax side in real life. De Boer’s style is unique in that it combines elements from the fables Total Football style with the more pragmatic style Louis van Gaal introduced during his tenure at Ajax. It is basically a one-touch, combination football tactic, heavily based on possession and positional interchange, but with room for one or two truly talented individuals to shine and excel.

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Heresy! A Diamond/Box Hybrid With A Striker?! (Sort Of)

Initially, I agree that it sounds odd, almost sacrilegious to feature tactics with strikers on a site called Strikerless and dedicated to playing without actual forwards. If you allow me time though, I hope to explain why this diamond formation is not really that different from the usual strikerless style of play.

The diamond formation provides a solid platform through the center of the field. The staggered diamond in the midfield allows the team to keep possession of the ball with intelligent player movement and good short passing. The whole formation thrives off of mobility, vertical movement and physical prowess. That really sounds like a lot of the concepts I mentioned in earlier articles.

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The Running Regista Or Withdrawn Central Winger

My friend Jonathon Aspey (@JLAspey) has written about the Central Winger before, whereas I have written about the intricacies regarding the implementation of the role in a Strikerless formation. The next idea is pushing the idea a bit further and withdrawing the Central Winger from his central midfield position, de facto creating a sort of hybrid between the wandering midfielder we wish to see and the generally more static defensive midfielders we are used to. (more…)

The Narrow 4-1-2-2-1 – Expanding Upon Defensive Football in FM14

Those of you that follow me on Twitter (@JLAspey) or have read any of my recent articles will know that I’ve started to become very interested in defensive football in Football Manager. I wrote an article a few months back, trying to create a side that was uber defensive, and designed to be impossible to break down, and steal 1-0 wins. Since then, I’ve wanted to expand on that idea, but take away the negative aspects of it, whilst still retaining the defensive stability. The original article was inspired by a fantastic thread by @Cleon81, where he achieved a fantastic season with his Sheffield United side, utilising a defensive 4-4-2 diamond formation. Another inspiration for my tactic came from @MrEds, who combined aspects of Cleon’s ideas and tweaked my ‘defensive diamond’ in his save with Ujpest in Hungary. Like MrEds, I’ve recently been drawn to Hungarian football, but with Kecskemet (or KTE), a team predicted to finish 13th, and tipped for relegation by many. This seemed like a perfect situation to develop some defensive football, with a team that will need to be defensively solid in order to avoid relegation. (more…)